Continuing with my American as Apple Pie documentary series, here’s a look at the other side. It’s the other side because my 3 previous posts in this series were all in protest to the subject of this blog post. Those previous posts are listed below.
This post is the first of 2 from the other side. The event we will talk about in this post, happened before my next blog post. I’d thought I would save the fireworks for last. How’s that for a teaser?
What could motivate a multitude of people to come to Nashville, on a cold Winter day, to stand in a line outside a building for hours with a slim chance of getting inside? Being in Nashville standing outside the Municipal Auditorium, one might think these people were waiting to buy tickets for some musical artist or group. I guess you could say that the person they were waiting for is a rock star of sorts. He is definitely famous and some would say he’s infamous. Love him or hate him, the 45th President of the United States descended on Music City to rally the troops.
My followers know I love street and documentary photography. When I learned about Trump coming to town, I immediately made plans to cover the event. I registered for two tickets for me and my wife. However, these tickets did not guarantee that we would get a seat. Further investigation revealed that I would need a media pass to take my cameras inside the venue. I applied for one, but never heard back from the Trump team. I figured my chances of getting inside with my camera was slim to none. Therefore, I made a decision whether to rally with the troops on the inside, or mingle with the crowds on the outside. The decision was easy. My soul purpose for attending this event was to capture the moment, inside or outside.
As it got closer to the day of the event, my wife decided not to go. She thought that this was a prime event for a mass shooting. It made me think twice, but in a way, it bolstered my objective to capture this event. I was thinking Pulitzer, LoL. With this change in plans, I decided that I would arrive early to check out the scene. Arriving early meant getting there around 6:00AM and dealing with below freezing temperatures that would only rise to the low forties later in the day. Keeping things positive, it was a beautiful sunny morning and once again, I was able to indulge in my favorite hobby. There are a lot of pictures in this post so I will not caption each shot with camera specs. Most of the day, I used my favorite street combination, my Olympus OM1 slr and 50mm f1.8 lens. I also utilized my favorite street film, Kodak TRI-X 400. The only other gear in my possession was my 28mm lens and my light meter. All images were processed and scanned by the FINDlab in Orem, Utah. During the late evening as the light began to fade, I grabbed my dslr. The pictures taken with my digital camera are the only color images.
When I made it to the auditorium that morning, I was surprised to see a few people already waiting. If you go back and look at the above picture, you’ll see that the event did not start until 6:30PM. At that moment, I realized that if I really wanted to get inside and get a great seat, I had the chance. I toyed with the idea of going ahead and staking my position in line. It would be my first chance to get to see one of our Presidents in person. I had the tickets in my wallet. I would be one of the first people through the door. The more I thought about it, the more people began to arrive. Ultimately, I could not imagine not coming away with some images. I figured most of the professional media people would be on the inside so why not document what was happening on the outside. That was my final decision. By mid-morning, the line started to grow.
Minute by Minute the line gradually became longer and longer. A festive atmosphere began to take shape. It reminded me of the atmosphere from the political events I documented that were in direct opposition to the Trump Presidency.
A Trump rally would not be complete without Trump gear. If you did not have any when you arrived, there were plenty of vendors to help you accessorize your attire.
As you would imagine, not everyone was smiling and having a good time, at least not a good time in support of President Trump. However, I would say they were having a good time exercising their First Amendment Right. I did not catch all the protest action, but I managed to grab a few shots of the opposition.
I did not witness any serious confrontations. I’m not saying it didn’t happened. It just didn’t happen while I was around. There were comments hurled back and forth on occasion, but nothing over the top. The protesters I saw mainly just hung around displaying their signs or marched along the line of Trump supporters chanting phrases as they passed by. The protesters as well as the Trump supporters were also prime targets for the media.
As the day continued, the gravity of this visit started to become clear. More and more people started arriving. The line gradually wrapped all the way around an apartment building adjacent to the auditorium and it would not stop there. I spent a lot of time walking the lines and capturing anything or anybody I thought was interesting.
As luck would have it, I actually got to see The Donald! He was at the front of the line talking to his supporters. I was surprised how close I was able to get to the President. He was telling everyone how wonderful things are going to be and that he was ready to make American great again. Ok, it was not the real Donald, but this impersonator’s mannerisms and accent were spot on.
There would be no way I would ever get this close to the real leader of the free world. I knew it was getting close to the real president’s arrival when I notice large dump trucks taking their positions and Nashville police officers and Tennessee State Troopers arriving on the scene. The real giveaway was the secret service that appeared to be directing security efforts.
I would be remiss if I did not talk about another group of protesters that I have witnessed in each of my American as Apple Pie series posts. These guys were not necessarily protesting Trump. They were there to represent God. They had bull horns and signs reminding the crowd the penalty for their sins. After seeing these guys in action at the Democrat events, I noticed a different tone with the Trump crowd. There were actual conversations. I witnessed a discussion about bible verses. Since it was Wednesday, maybe they just took their bible study to the streets, LoL. There were some disagreements, but no one that I saw had any serious confrontations with these “men of God.” This first man’s face you’ll recognize if you’ve read my previous posts. He’s actually had some physical contact with Democrat supporters at the Silent Inauguration and he was also in a heated battle with Democrat supporters at the Spirit of America Rally coming up in my next post. I have to admit that this man’s tactics at the Silent Inauguration would have gotten under anyone’s skin. He was blasting away on his megaphone while the participants were trying to have a peaceful moment of silence. The heat between these guys and Democrat supporters really heats up in my next post, so stay tuned!
As I mentioned earlier, I grabbed my dslr as the light started to fade. I took a few more shots of the crowd on film before switching over to digital. This next series of shots shows an impressive line of people, a line that wrapped all the way around Capitol Hill right up to the Capitol Building grounds. There was no way these people were going to get in the venue, but yet, they stayed in line passed sunset. I think they knew that, but just wanted to be part of a historic moment.
My final images were captured with my Olympus E520 DSLR. I used a combination of my 14-54mm f2.8 and my 70-300mm f4-5.6 lenses. Let’s start with another set of images showing the security detail.
Here’s another look at more of the crowd as the sun started to set. It seemed the line would never end. Droves of people were coming from everywhere.
…………………….and one more shot of the Fisk University protesters with a message for Trump.
These next shots capped off a very long day. I was on my feet the entire time. The only time I sat for an extended period was on the drive home. Even with my aching legs and feet, I would do it all over again.
I found the route where Trump’s motorcade would be leaving so I staked out the area. I hung out around the intersection of Charlotte Street and 5th Avenue for almost an hour. When Metro Police cars started rushing on the scene with flashing lights and the motorcade started revving up their engines, I knew the rally was over and Trump was about to make a mad dash back to the airport.
I hope you have enjoyed the story and pictures. The final blog post for my American as Apple Pie documentary series is up next. If you have not read my earlier documentary posts, just go back to the top of this page and click on one of the blog links listed. You can manually pick and view the pictures in the Lightbox below or you can also hit the play button and enjoy the slideshow. I would love to hear your comments about what you’ve seen in this post and your own experiences with the political events in your neck of the woods. Thanks for reading!